Grad student alleges school trying to force her to change her anti-gay beliefs


Keeton Staff Reports

A Georgia graduate student has filed a lawsuit accusing Augusta State University officials of violating her constitutional rights — she claims the school told her that her anti-gay beliefs are incompatible with the standards of her desired profession.

Jennifer Keeton, 24, who is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, said she was ordered to undergo a re-education plan that requires her to attend “diversity sensitivity training,” complete additional remedial reading and write papers to describe their effects on her beliefs, according to the lawsuit filed last week.

“The school counseling faculty has decided that my views are not acceptable for me or to share with other students,” Keeton said in a video statement produced by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

“They have required a remediation plan in which the end result would be me altering my beliefs or being dismissed from the program.”

Keeton has said in and out class that, according to her Christian beliefs, homosexuality is immoral and a lifestyle choice.

The ADF, a legal alliance that supports religious freedom, filed the suit for Keeton in U.S. District Court in Augusta. The notoriously anti-gay ADF opposes gay marriage, gay adoption, and established an annual “Day of Truth” to counter what it calls the promotion of the homosexual agenda.

ASU officials have made no comment on the suit, but said its counselor education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, and follows the American School Counselor Association’s ethical standards, which specify that counselors in training must “recognize and accept” individual differences, cultural diversity and alternative points of view.

Keeton claimed that despite her beliefs, she would still be able to counsel lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans patients.

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